We’re all into cars ‘round these parts. But not everyone is, and that’s something we all have to understand — or change. The right car in the right place can make all the difference in the world, and getting every person behind the wheel of these cars will surely make gearheads out of them. Yesterday, we asked you what cars every person should drive in their life, and today we’re checking out your answers. Let’s dive in.
Nothing else to add.
The classic, the apex, the gold standard of sports cars. Someday I’ll get behind the wheel of one.
Second-Generation Dodge Charger
Sure, I’ll grind my axe—the 2nd gen Charger:
You could give any muscle car from the Sixties/early Seventies a drive and experience a thrill unlike any other. I’m talking about putting your foot it in it, have that big-block V8 open up and start roaring, then the two-ton car jumps as all that torque comes pouring on. And the way the speed builds as the car gets NASCAR loud...my god, it’s music from car heaven.
I swear to the car gods, guys and gals, you have not lived till you’ve experienced such an ohmigodimgonnadie moment behind the wheel of a classic big-block V8 muscle car going flat-out. Afterwards, you will feel alive.
Then comes the icing on the cake for how people react seeing the all-time styling masterpiece/all-time Hollywood star 2nd gen Charger on the streets—the Bullitt/General Lee/Ghost Rider/F&F/Batmobile—people go effing nuts. It’s as if you’re famous.
Having never driven a classic muscle car, I have to wonder if the differences from a modern muscle car are really good. Modern cars make more power, accelerate more quickly, have more grip off the line. Is the sketchier construction of a classic really that desirable?
A Gated Manual Ferrari
A Ferrari with a gated shifter. I’ll never be rich enough own my own Ferrari. But the experience of driving one should be experienced by all at least once. Especially one with a gated shifter. I’ve had the privilege of driving several V8 models due to my job, some with the F1 gearbox and some with the gate. Both are great, don’t get me wrong… but the gated shifter, to me at least, felt like the legit Ferrari experience. Rowing your way through corners, downshifting in tunnels and upshifting your way into the stratosphere just all felt amazing with that classic transmission in a way the F1 could never match for me.
Is an R8 with the gated manual a more attainable but still acceptable alternative? It may lack the prancing horse, but it’s a prettier car than most out of Maranello. Fight me.
A Jeep wrangler, experienced properly. Top down, doors off, down a gravel road or mild trail with incredible scenery. One time is all it takes to understand why we put up with such an objectively bad vehicle.
Simple commuting in a Wrangler kind of sucks, honestly. They’re loud, their fuel economy is nothing to write home about, and they driver bigger than they are. Take one off-road, though, and I imagine that all changes.
A Cadillac Cimarron, just so you know we all could have had it much worse and as much as we complain, things are actually pretty good.
Not every car has to be a prime, shining example of motoring. Some can be a glimpse into a dark past, that it may save us from an even darker future.
A Tractor Trailer
Something at least the size of a school bus, but a full-on semi with trailer preferred. Give everyone the perspective of just how difficult it is to maneuver those vehicles around.
This should be mandatory for every person who sees a “This Vehicle Makes Wide Right Turns” sticker and tries to pass on the right anyway.
Always The Answer
It’s the answer to this question, as well:
[Photo of a 1994-1997 Miata]
Light, flickable, a good manual transmission and an easy-to-drop top. If a Miata can’t get you into cars, you may be wholly immune to gearheaddom.
Alfa. More prcisely the Alfa 2000.
I fully believe that the Alfa 2000 is a transcendent car to drive. The problem is, how often do you get to drive it before it needs work again?
The first-generation Honda S2000. My family owned one (in an excellent blue over blue leather interior, like the one pictured below), and so I had the pleasure of driving it on occasion. The manual is, of course, sublime and the rigidity of the monocoque frame can’t be overstated. But everyone should should, at some point in their life, hear that 2.0L engine scream like a banshee from hell all the way up to the 9,000 RPM redline. It’s an aural attack on the senses in the best way imaginable.
I’ve sat in a few S2000s, but never actually been handed the keys to one. They have my favorite driving position of all time, bar none, so someday I’ll need to actually press that key-enabled Start button.
Something exotic. The sounds, the feel, the experience. Everything. It’s all heightened. I’ve driven a huracan, r8, gallardo, and a 570s. I’ve ridden in an veyron. Every. Single. Time. It was just thrilling and puts a giant smile on my face. The huracan I auto-crossed at one of those things you buy and they let you drive. And I came I came out of the car with full adrenaline pumping, shaking, biggest smile on my face. The veyron I was a passenger in will always be one of my favorite memories. That kind of acceleration was exhilarating. It churned my stomach like feeling when a plane JUST gets off the ground. If you haven’t done it - get a on Groupon and go. I’d love to do a full track experience at road Atlanta one day. And I definitely gotta add a porsche experience.
These controlled supercar rentals are generally designed to get the most enjoyment possible into the little time you have with your exotic. If you don’t have a dumb grin on your face by the time you leave, you should ask for a refund.
A Model T
A Ford Model T. I haven’t done it myself yet, but I know there are places where you can take classes to learn. Because there are three pedals and none of them do what you expect them to do, and you have a lever to control ignition timing also.
I would also accept any other 100+-year-old car, just to experience firsthand how far technology has advanced since then.
Driving a Model T is the fastest way to build respect for the drivers of olde, and for the engineers that got us to the way cars operate today. I’d take any touchscreen over manual ignition timing control.
It doesn’t really matter which one, but you need to do it on a track. It’s the nearest thing to an actual racing car you’re going to experience in a car you could drive home. (Would also accept Aerial Atom or similar).
You can combine this recommendation with most cars on this list, or go for a dedicated track car like a Radical or Ariel. Track time is a great way to not only appreciate your tires, suspension, and brakes a lot more but to get more acquainted with your own car’s limits.
A Dodge Viper. Everyone should experience what it’s like to be behind the wheel of a vehicle that’s actively trying to kill you, even if just for a couple minutes.
The Viper may be one of the most attainable “widowmaker” cars, as it’s a lot cheaper than a 930 Turbo. The SW20 MR-2, however, might have it beat.
E39 BMW M5
[Photo of E39 M5]
[Photo of S197 Mustang Boss 302]
These are two cars are the only two still resonate with me after driving them. That M5 is still my #1 car of all-time too.
Nothing beats the car of BMW Films Star. It’s an icon for a reason, beloved by all who get behind the wheel.
The More the Merrier
All of them.
I use it as a rule of thumb whenever the opportunity junps at me. I want to drive everything, experience all the differences between cars, find hidden gems and dethrone myths.
Why not get yourself acquainted with everything that’s out there? Why not try something new, and see how you feel about it? Why not get yourself behind the wheel of every car?